Development of a Responsible Conduct of Research Handbook: A Guide for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Researchers
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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is committed to the integrity of its research practices and research results. Such commitment is reflected in its policies, resources, and environment for the responsible conduct of research (RCR). Data from NASA officials suggest that instances of detrimental research practices occur and are underreported in official mechanisms. This Capstone Project developed the Responsible Conduct of Research Handbook for NASA Researchers (NASA RCR Handbook) for the NASA research community based on input from NASA officials and an extensive literature review. Once approved by NASA management, the NASA RCR Handbook will augment existing institutional resources by giving an overview of the key elements of RCR and other critical areas, suggesting best practices for avoiding issues, and providing a comprehensive list of relevant NASA policies and points of contact. In order to make the NASA RCR Handbook effective, the author recommends that the NASA Chief Scientist: 1) inform the NASA research community of the NASA RCR Handbook and give widespread access to it; 2) solicit input from the NASA research community on how best to improve it and revise, and 3) assign a point of contact or office to periodically review the NASA RCR Handbook and ensure its relevance and compliance to NASA and federal policy. The author also recommends that other federal research agencies develop a similar handbook for their staff. The NASA RCR Handbook is designed to ensure that NASA staff are aware of best practices for RCR, where to find more information, and who to go to for help resolving concerns.